Monday, August 25, 2008

Is John Piper Wrong?

Alright, the title was just to get your attention. In the future, when I disagree with Piper, I'll just cite my case without being so dramatic. My most recent problem with John Piper came about while reading Desiring God (a most excellent book). In it he claims that:

"The climax of God's happiness is the delight He takes in the echoes of His excellence in the praises of His people." Page 50

That sounds most beautiful, but it sounds too grand. I tend to react against it because I find it makes too much of man, especially a man that has had no real choice in his decision. Of course, to our eyes we do, but ultimately, God is sovereign over all our decisions. Therefore, while I can understand that he "delights in the echoes of His excellence in the praises of His people," I cannot agree with the way Piper formulates it.
You cannot compare 'echoes' with the real 'excellence'. You cannot compare a 'climax' with a more normal 'delight'. So I disagree for two reasons:
1. Climax indicates the highest peak of God's happiness. This must be found within the Trinity and not in mortal man.
2. It makes too much of a predestined man's praise.

Now, I'm pretty sure that either Piper didn't intend to sound that way or I totally misunderstood him. Nonetheless, I thought it worthwhile to make a quick note of it.


Michael & SunHee said...

Your comment on predestination sounds a little 'thin' - I suggest you beef it up a little, I recommend listening to Mark Driscoll at and the Predestination sermon under the 'Religion Saves & nine other misconceptions' series.

Blogging is good - I will revisit in future - but somehow blogs suffer from the rigor of true discussion and debate, I'm sure you know.


Stéphane K said...

Hi Michael,

I love Piper and enjoy Driscoll. As I wrote the post, I really wasn't thinking too much about how it would sound.
As long as the idea was expressed and understood, I didn't want to enter into the whole predestination thing.

But apparently, I should have made it clear. I don't know what you mean by 'thin'. I believe in predestination, if you're worried. My comment was on the Piper quote. I just found it too eloquent for little man. Do tell me what ran through your mind.

Michael & SunHee said...

My thought is this - if you agree with and benefit from the person's ministry then leave it at that. It is unnecessary to pick upon the finest comment. If someone is truly wrong then that is the time to speak out - against heretics, false preachers and wackos. If they are already on our team then let them stand.

Stéphane K said...

I'm in no position to criticize Piper. He has been perhaps the greatest influence in my life in the past two or three years.
However, when I comment like I did, I'm simply expressing my own questions to his ideas.
So if you don't have any problem with what he says and don't mind, then leave it at that.
But as I read the passage, I liked it, but struggled, because I don't know if it is the truth. One problem being the whole thing about predestined praise.

By the way, I think you're right about picking the battles to fight. I will not fight Piper, on the contrary, I admire him and God has used his preaching to draw me to Himself.